A warehouse for Banksy and Shepard Fairey (Obey)

A warehouse for Banksy and Shepard Fairey (Obey)

Before Banksy became the most ellusive and impactful artist of the current gerenation, and before Shepard Fairey (Obey) would go onto design one of the most memorable political images in history (for Barack Obama) both of these artists along with French duo 123Klan, Iconic Australian artists Dmote, Perks and Mini (PAM) and Burn Crew, came together for an unprecedented exhibition, to help launch Semi Permanent.

The year was 2003, the location was a friend's warehouse in Alexandria and the attendee numbers were expected to be in the hundreds. Instead, the night before the lights would be turned on for the first day of talks in SP's history, thousands filled themselves inside the 400sqm space, lined with sheets of ply covered in bespoke artwork. All the artists were present (including Banksy himself) and the night ran long.

Banksy and Shepard Fairey
The Pink Photocopier
Banksy and Shepard Fairey
Shepard Fairey and Ernesto "Che" Guevara

Created over four days, with many a trip through the Bunnings Alexandria checkout, the SP team took artists through to collect materials and paints. There was also the photocopier - which Banksy managed to wedge into a Jeep Wrangler, before he coated it in pink and stenciled a pair of dubious rats at its feet.

Countless pieces of work were knicked and, what can only be assumed as every graffitti artist in Sydney, left their mark on the innocent walls or fences of the adjoining buildings - all of which had to be cleaned by SP the following week. 

"We doing his you C#*@s?"

Banksy

In the following days before everyone boarded planes to fly into superstardom, each artist left their mark somewhere on the city and - for a lucky few - each sat next to someone in the talks hall of Semi Permanent.

On a sentimental note, Semi Permanent could not be more proud of our opening moment. We're forever thankful to all the artists and attendees who helped bring an idea into reality. Semi Permanent is forever in your debt.

Banksy and Shepard Fairey
The launch of Semi Permanent
Banksy and Shepard Fairey
Perks and Mini (PAM)
Banksy and Shepard Fairey
French duo 123Klan
Banksy and Shepard Fairey
Australia's Dmote
Banksy and Shepard Fairey
12 metres of Bunnings and Banksy
Banksy and Shepard Fairey
Banksy and Shepard Fairey
Muck Off came in handy / Melbourne's Burn Crew
Banksy and Shepard Fairey
Banksy

Photos by Garry Trinh and Semi Permanent

Thankyou to Caroline Choker

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